14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,16 that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being,17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19
For those of you that don’t know, I am blessed to have the greatest little niece in the world, and her name is Arabella Grace. Call me bias, but I love her something fierce. She recently turned five years old, and before her 5th birthday, she chose to give her heart to Jesus Christ. This little girl is the biggest bundle of joy I’ve ever encountered. I love her to pieces, and I can’t imagine a more precious child. As you read this, I truly hope you’re feeling the same way about your own child, niece, nephew, grandchild…Nevertheless, this particular little lady has stolen my heart, and from before she graced us with her presence over 5 years ago, I was praying for her.
When my sister was pregnant with her, the doctors gave her and her husband some devastating news. I remember it like it was yesterday. In so many words, they were told that Arabella would be lucky to survive outside of the womb. It was highly probable that she would suffer from downs syndrome or dwarfism if she did live. And we all hit our knees. We prayed fervently for months for the complete healing of this precious little girl that we had grown to love before we ever even laid eyes on her. We cried out to God for a miracle…and a miracle He performed. To the utter astonishment of the doctors, my sister gave birth to a perfectly healthy, happy, 5 pound baby girl. Some may say that her only flaw would be her attitude, one that is strikingly similar to that of her aunt’s (a.k.a. me). What an amazing encounter that day was with the God who heals and restores all things!
I remember holding her in my arms for the first time, overwhelmed with love and respect for my little sister for bringing such a gift into this world and equally overwhelmed at the precious life that I held. I wanted nothing more than for her to grow to love Jesus just like her parents do. From that day, that has been my prayer – that Arabella would love Jesus, follow Him, serve Him, and give her life for Him. So, you can imagine the tears of joy that streamed down both mine and my sister’s faces as she called me to share the news of Arabella’s new faith! I praise God for His work in her life that He began at such an early age, a work that I know He will carry on to completion. This is my continued prayer for Arabella Grace…
You are the giver of life, and it was you who formed and created Arabella in her mother’s womb. You knitted her together to completion, and you are the Great Physician that healed her every part. You displayed your greatness in performing the miracle of her life. For that, I praise you. I bow my knee to the God who loves Arabella more than any one of us ever could. Thank you for drawing her to faith in you at such a precious young age. Thank you for giving her an understanding of who you are and what you did for her on the cross. I pray that as she grows in knowledge and understanding, as each year passes, may she love you more. With each passing day as she witnesses the faith of her loving parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, may her understanding of the heights and depths and riches of your love for her grow. Cause her to be an influencer in her generation, one that will show others the love that she now knows. Raise her up to be an ambassador for you, Jesus, one who will carry your truth with her wherever she goes. May she love others as you have loved her. May she follow after you all of her days. May your love that you have planted within her heart change the world around her.
In Jesus’ name,
Heide Blair says
All I can say is AMEN! Actually the first diagnosis that was given for Arabella was Osteogenesis Imperfecta which is a brittle bone disease. Her legs were curved in shape like a banana, and one of the doctors saw a break in one of the legs. Matt also saw this. Many people around the world were praying for this precious little one and on her next appointment the ultrasound showed her legs straightened out and no break!!!! Only God! I too love this precious little girl and she has an oh so special place in my heart! (She also has her Papa’s heart wrapped around her little finger!!!)
Both Jim and I pray too for her to grow up to be a Christ follower and a testimony to His faithfulness! Thanks for writing this Cherie!
Debbie Bradshaw says
Amen to everything you shared, honey. Another amazing part of her testimony is her name Arabella which means answered prayer. There are many Isabella’s around that go by the the nickname Bella but she’s the only Arabella that I know of. Everytime Bella and I meet someone new they always ask about her unusual or different first name which opens up the door for us to share her testimony all over again! She is a blast to hang out with!
I tell Lori quite often that she is raising her sister….:)
So sweet and beautiful!